Parker at Somerset Joins the Eden Registry

July 24, 2019
Kris Angevine, The Eden Alternative

Parker at Somerset, located in Somerset, NJ is the fourth Parker home to join the Eden Registry. They are in the process of a major renovation, which will transform the current, rather institutional looking environment into 3 smaller homes. While this physical transformation is occurring, they are striving to create a home committed to providing person-centered care. Their “All About Me” story is created by the social work team and shared with all care partners to help meet the Elders’ needs and wants.

This community is committed to the building of relationships and fostering engagement between all members of the care partner team: the Elders themselves and their employee and family care partners.. The chef hosts a monthly Breakfast Cafe, where he prepares and serves meals that several employee care partners join. Additionally, the Monthly Lunch Club provides those residents who normally choose to dine in their rooms an opportunity to gather and socialize in a smaller setting than the main dining room. The conversation and interactions are lively and enriching. Baking and cooking clubs include guest chefs, which may be family members, employees, or Elders.

The Parker vision of making aging a part of life is demonstrated in full force with various activities. The Parker at Somerset Living with a Purpose Club is promoting the self-determination and dignity of the people who live there. The club members run and staff fundraising events for the organizations of their choice. They have gone on trips to the Somerset Patriots, minor league baseball games, and are a vibrant group within the home.

The people who live here are actively involved in defining the rhythm of daily life,  They help determine what is available to them, such as arts and crafts, painting lessons, individual pursuits such as reading books from our library, gardening, and “hanging out” with one of the care partners and his motorcycle and reminiscing about similar experiences. Of course, there is music, (sometimes the performance is one of the dining assistants or CNAs). There are several dancers and many “chair dancers” who enjoy musical entertainers. The”Amazing Race” competition includes events, such as mummy making, cup stacking, and ping pong ball toss. Everyone taps into the competitive spirit!

Pets have come for a visit, including a golden retriever named Abbie, that makes rounds a few times a week with her owner, one of the employee care partners. Family members may bring beloved pets as well. Parker at Somerset has turtles, birds and fish that are cared for by a dedicated volunteer and our recreation assistants. The latest addition to our home is Kisses, a bunny that was given to the home by one of the employee care partners.

Moving from a task oriented, diagnosis driven environment to one that honors individual choices supports the community mission, which is to “discover ways to make aging manageable, relatable, and enriching for all society”. Congratulations and welcome!


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